Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Transition Towns in Tassie

A couple of weekends ago I spent the weekend in Hobart doing the transition town training - it's a fantastic concept we imported from Kinsale in Ireland and the UK, where it's doing very nicely. It's a community approach to the issues of climate change and peak oil.

I've written an article in the next ABC Organic Gardener Magazine on the topic, so I'm kind of loath to describe it all over again. You can read more about the concept at and and our very first transition town in Aussie and others here.

Where I'm working we have a very supportive committee who were keen to jump on board the boat and our community centre now has funding over $40,000 to do something similar in Geeveston - - it's not often you get to do something at work that you're so passionate about. Our launch is in a couple of weeks, Lara Giddings it officiating, and I'm busy collecting local food from within the community and schools and doing a low food miles feast. We were donated about four kilos of shelled walnuts today, the local beekeeper will supply honey and we're going to make baklava, a high miles recipe with a local flavour.

No doubt I will subject you to more raves about it over the year. Can't wait for our permaculture blitz's, with pruning, no dig gardening, making chicken coops, mini greenhouses, seedsaving workshops and much more. Local food production is only one aspect of the project, but it's definately something I love to get my teeth into.


Peter said...

As an outer Geeveston resident who already lives the good life with a low energy house and lifestyle and growing 80% of our food including veggies, meat, eggs, fruit, milk, cheese etc and bartering already with our surplus I thought the transition town initiative to prepare for a low energy future was a good idea initially.
We have prepared for the inevitable energy descent of the coming decade and are in the process of putting in a prototype “green powered” greenhouse that will grow tomatoes all year round, the waste bin only goes out once a month since we recycle all food scraps to the chickens/ compost and paper is burnt, the waste water from the kitchen waters the fruit trees and in the bathroom it is recycled to flush the toilet, an electric bicycle has replaced one of our cars for short trips as far as Huonville, the UTE has been converted to LPG and the electricity bill is down to 25% of what is was a year ago after some retrofitting of our old 1900 house with extensive insulation, DIY double glazing and the implementation of a prototype energy efficient combined solar/ wood hydronic heating/ hot water system. Next step is off the grid with a combined 3kW solar, wind setup.
Unfortunately, we are free thinkers and the more we have read about all the transition town initiatives around the world the more it has become obvious it is just another form of control and government with endless rules and no doubt regulation. So we have decided to not get involved, since particularly in this case it is based on competition and that is always destructive and leads to envy and dissatisfaction. Best of luck to you and we will watch with interest how it all develops.

Denise said...

Well done Peter on everything you have done. It shows if you are really sincere, what can be done. I think what Linda is doing (spreading the word) is hugely important as she tends to light the match that starts the fire for a lot of people. Her book kickstarted my change of lifestyle and so I think that whatever method is used to get people going forward in the right direction can only be good. Of course the govt. and media use things for their own end but we can do the same if it is for the good of humanity and the earth. Doing nothing is the greatest crime so whether we do things individually or as a group, let's do it for the right reasons.

Rachel Roddam said...

Peter, thank you for sharing all you have done. Its great to have this communicated; its so easy to be head down, proverbial up, too busy to share our experiences.
On another note, there is a great book called the Transition Towns Handbook, which I have read. My take on Transition Towns is more that there is an overwhelming sentiment and culture of sharing, be it knowledge, experience, resources (the list goes on). Yes there are lists of action etc. etc., but my take is that these are a guide to those of us who become involved in Transition, to help us get started, and save us unnecessary "teething problems". Transition? Count me in. Rachel

Tim said...

I'm also an 'outer Geeveston' resident and keen observer of the Transition Town movement - e.g. Totnes as well as the Italian 'slow food' movement.

I too am concerned about any 'official' involvement in such a project. The key element in a transition town is that it is a 'bottom up' community initiative. Government and officialdom is noticeable entirely by its absence.

I want to be invoplved as a budding permaculturist and psychologist - but only if it is truly 'bottom up'.